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Acarajé (Portuguese pronunciation: [akaɾaˈʒɛ] ( listen)) or (YO: àkàrà ) is a dish made from peeled beans formed into a ball and then deep-fried in dendê (palm oil). It is found in West African and Brazilian cuisines. The dish is traditionally encountered in Brazil's northeastern state of Bahia, especially in the city of Salvador, often as street food, and is also found in many countries in West Africa, including Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Mali, Gambia, Sierra Leone.
It is served split in half and stuffed with vatapá and caruru – spicy pastes made from shrimp, ground cashews, palm oil and other ingredients. A vegetarian version is typically served with hot peppers and green tomatoes. Acarajé can also come in a second form called Abara, where the ingredients are boiled instead of deep fried.
Akara (as it is known in southwest and southeast Nigeria) a recipe taken to Brazil by the slaves from the West African coast. It is called "akara" by the Yoruba people of south-western Nigeria, "kosai" by the Hausa people of Nigeria or "koose" in Ghana and is a popular breakfast dish, eaten with millet or corn pudding. In Nigeria, Akara is commonly eaten with bread, Ogi (or Eko), a type of Cornmeal made with fine corn flour.
Akara plays a significant role in the Yoruba culture, as it was specially prepared when a person who has come of Age (70 and Above) dies. It was usually fried in large quantity and distributed across every household close to the deceased. Akara also used to be prepared in large as a sign of victory, when warriors came back victorious from war.The women, especially the wives of the Warriors were to fry Akara and distribute it to the villagers.
Acarajé is made with cooked and mashed black eyed peas seasoned with salt and chopped onions molded into the shape of a large scone and deep-fried in palm oil in a wok-like pan in front of the customers.
Black Eyed Peas
A pale-colored bean with a prominent black spot. In the American South there are multiple varieties, many of them heirloom, that vary in size from the small lady peas to very large ones, as may be seen in the state and municipal farmers' markets. The color of the eye may be black, brown, red, pink or green. All the peas are green when freshly shelled and brown or buff when dried. A popular variation of the black-eyed pea is the purple hull pea; it is usually green with a prominent purple or pink spot.
Acarajé is a fixture in the Afro-Brazilian religious traditions of Candomblé. Although it is the ritual food of the goddess Iansã, the first acarajé in a candomblé ritual is offered to Exu. It is also eaten in fufu osun sauce and mutton.
Today in Bahia, Brazil, most street vendors who serve acarajé are women, easily recognizable by their all-white cotton dresses and headscarves and caps. The image of these women, often simply called baianas, frequently appears in artwork from the region of Bahia. Acarajé, however, is available outside of the state of Bahia as well, including the streets of its neighbor state Sergipe, and the markets of Rio de Janeiro.
- Blazes, Marian. "Brazilian Black-Eyed Pea and Shrimp Fritters - Acarajé". About.com. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
<ref>Kraig, Bruce. Street Food around the World: An Encyclopedia of Food and Culture. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2013. Print.</ref>